If Cristiano Ronaldo was the clear focus ahead of kick-off at Molineux today, it was another former Real Madrid player who stole the limelight once Mike Dean blew for full time.
Raphael Varane was on the bench against Southampton last week and was made to wait for his maiden Manchester United appearance.
The 28-year-old will have been happy to see much of the build-up centre around Ronaldo as he quietly slotted into the backline next to Harry Maguire. Sometimes, a new partnership at centre-back could take time to gel but the Frenchman never looked out of place.
Instead, he was commanding. He could be seen shouting at his teammates to get back into position and made was colossal in all aerial duels. Varane’s performance was refreshing for Manchester United supporters and the talk was backed up by statistics.
Raphaël Varane’s Man Utd debut by numbers:
88% pass accuracy
74 total touches
5 passes into the final third
5 aerials contested
2 aerials won
1 cross blocked
0 x dribbled past
0 goals conceded
His quality is so clear. 🇫🇷 pic.twitter.com/2bdyvxrxCF
— Statman Dave (@StatmanDave) August 29, 2021
He made numerous blocks and one vital cross-stopping block. Furthermore, he was not dribbled past once as he stood his ground against Wolves’ tricky attackers.
Although most of the work was done by Mason Greenwood, the 2018 World Cup winner is credited with the assist. He could have taken the comfortable option of laying it off to Maguire but he didn’t – a sign of someone who knows what do to in the closing stages of a game.
Victor Lindelof has been a mainstay in the Manchester United team since Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s arrival in 2018, and although the Swede has largely done well, Varane comes in with an added presence.